Testing my backbone

I’m a nice person. Well, I like to think I’m a nice person anyhow, and some people tell me that’s true too. Especially my kids, they tell me I’m the best Mum in the world. Aw shucks!

But sometimes, being nice creates problems because I want people to be nice back to me too.

This can be a real problem in software testing when faced with an aggressive and rude developer with little respect for your work.

The consequence of being ‘nice’ is that I’m as helpful and co-operative as possible with developers. Generally testers like me raise great bug reports and are very attentive if the developer requires further information.

On the down side, at some point in your working life, you are going to face an aggressive and unpleasant developer and to do your job, you are going to have to stand your ground.

And then its time for wimpy tester to find her voice and become  assertive tester.

So I’ve had to come up with some techniques to turn my wimpy ‘nice’  persona into an assertive positive voice.

For all you wimpy and not so wimpy testers out there, here they are:

1)  Rule Number 1. It’s all about the software, its not about you. Focus on your goal and don’t be distracted by outrageous and manipulative statements. Sometimes I imagine the developer yelling and screaming at the software not me.

2) Rule Number 2: Stick to the facts, and backup statements with evidence or in Cem Kaner’s language, find a credible source.

3) Rule Number 3: Don’t be bullied by an aggressive developer, raise your risks and speak your mind.

4) Rule Number 4: Keep a pleasant an even tone in all your discussions. Emotion is not required here.

5)Rule Number 5:  Focus on the commonalities. You both want the software to be delivered successfully. Work as a team even if it doesn’t feel like a team.

Remember the goal is not to get the developer to like you, its to get good software delivered. At the end of the day, you are responsible for raising bug reports and identifying risks. If some developer is determined to be aggressive, that’s their call, but if you stand your ground at least then you can complete your work with a clear conscience.